The world capital of alpinism is more known for black ice and crevasses than for deep snow, but the last couple of weeks in Chamonix were an early season tourist-free snorklely powder Armageddon for the local storm crows. What P.O.V.-enthusiast Nathan Wallace blearily called a “50-Year Event” when I spoke with him a couple of days ago has left the region absurdly stacked, and the storm track has extended all the way across the Mediterranean. The Atlantic.com ran a gallery of people playing in the snow in Jerusalem and Damascus, and someone sent me a P.O.V. video from a ski descent on the Island of Crete. I repeat, Crete.
Meanwhile in Cham, feet of snow in town meant powder runs to the valley floor on both sides of Mont Blanc, and some of the deepest images I’ve ever seen from my friend Cedric Bernardini, who has been out with Andreas Fransson, Wallace, Dave Rosenbarger, Olli Herren, Thor Husted, Yo Hachemi, and Maria Ludvigsson, among others. You might see neck-deep pow a few days a year in Little Cottonwood, but on the longest lift-served runs in the world? Bluebird? Stable? If this is climate change, frickin’ sign me up.
Wallace has been on the scene documenting the French Trenchtown since September 27. I’ve been getting a little jaded on his P.O.V. edits, because there’s only so much of someone else’s Best Day Ever that I can take with a blown knee. But his latest edit is a little disturbing. No doubt someone got on something gnarly in Cham that day, but Nathan, Stian, and Canadian master Ollie Herren were snorkeling for miles on the voie normal. It’s not often that you see someone have to clear their airway while skiing.
For an idea of what it’s like to open up the Italian side on a huge day with an empty tram(!), open the Gran Envers with the big boys, or be Nathan Wallace on a typical day this year, take a look at this:
Not to mention this:
It’ll probably be blown out when I get there, but I bought my plane ticket. Gurgle!